Golf Club Carimate

GEO Certified® 05/2017
Carimate,
Italy
Telephone: +39 (0)31 790226
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Golf Club Carimate is located in northern Italy, in the Seveso river valley and the Prealps of the Lombardy region, about 300 meters above the sea level. The club is situated in western Brianza, in the province of Como, approximately 30 kilometres from the Swiss border. Its geographical coordinates are 45° 42' 23'' north latitude and 9° 06' 27'' east longitude in the municipality of Carimate. The site covers a total area of about 60 hectares in the Brianza moors. Its landscape alternates between wooded areas and cultivated flat land with the Lombard Prealps and Mount Resegone in the background.

The course was built in 1962, along with a residential complex whose view of the golf course was considered prestigious. The beautiful views of the castle are a further additional aesthetic detail; the holes are located on the land of the noble residence owned by the Arnaboldi Cazzaniga family, linked to the Carimate Castle, an ancient manor house dating back to 1345 (connected to the noble Visconti family for more than 400 years) and surrounded by a trees park with over thirty species of trees (all registered and with maintenance sheets), some majestic, like the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and the Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantic).

The clubhouse is protected under the conservation act, as it was designed by architect Vico Magistretti, who launched a new style based on Modernism in the 1960s, including the creation of the legendary Club Chair – his first design piece – that was subsequently produced in Great Britain and renamed the “Beatles Chair” due to appreciation expressed by the four Liverpudlians and for its common presence in pubs and golf clubs.

Golf Club Carimate is not an exclusive club and much of it is encircled by a bike path used by local residents. The club also cooperates with local schools, holding learning activities on the course and has developed a good relationship with the local community over the years.

The club’s environmental commitment is evidenced by its being awarded the first European “Committed to Green” Certification in 2001. Carimate was one of the first Italian clubs to adhere to and reach the objective in a short period of time thanks to the attention and effort supporting the initiative launched by the EGA Ecology Unit a couple of years before. It is one of the very few clubs awarded specific EMAS environmental certification (2013-2015).

Il Golf Club Carimate è situato in nord Italia, nella Regione Lombardia, nell'ambito territoriale della valle del fiume Seveso e delle prealpi lombarde, a circa 300 metri s.l.m.; ricade nella Brianza occidentale in provincia di Como a circa 30 km dal confine con la Svizzera. Le coordinate geografiche sono 45° 42' 23'' di latitudine nord e 9° 06' 27'' di longitudine est nel Comune di Carimate. La superficie complessiva del Golf Club è di circa 60 ettari, inserito nella brughiera briantea dove il paesaggio alterna boschi e tratti pianeggianti coltivati e sullo sfondo le prealpi lombarde con viste sul Monte Resegone.

Il Golf Club nacque nel 1962 insieme a un insediamento residenziale che considerava prestigioso l'aspetto paesaggistico con affaccio sul campo da golf. Ulteriore abbellimento derivava dalle splendide viste sul castello, infatti le buche vennero realizzate all'interno della tenuta nobiliare di proprietà della famiglia Arnaboldi Cazzaniga, legata al Castello di Carimate, un antico maniero risalente al 1345 (per oltre 400 anni legato alla nobile famiglia Visconti) e circondato da un parco arboreo con oltre trenta specie di alberi (tutti censiti e corredati di apposite schede manutentive), alcuni dei quali monumentali come la Metasequoia (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) e il Cedro dell'Atlante (Cedrus atlantica).

Il Club House è vincolata dalle Belle Arti, in quanto firmata dall'architetto Vico Magistretti, che negli anni '60 lanciò un nuovo stile improntato al modernismo, inclusa l'ideazione della leggendaria sedia del circolo, che fu il primo pezzo di design, prodotto poi in Gran Bretagna e ribattezzata la "sedia dei Beatles" per l'apprezzamento da parte dei quattro giovani di Liverpool e per l'ampia diffusione che ebbe nei pub e nei circoli di golf.

Non è un circolo esclusivo e per lunga parte è circondato da una pista ciclabile molto frequentata dalla popolazione locale, inoltre collabora con le scuole locali per attività didattiche sul campo e ha un ottimo rapporto con la comunità locale instaurato da molti anni.

L'impegno ambientale del circolo è testimoniato dall'ottenimento nel 2001 della prima Certificazione Europea "Impegnati nel Verde": Carimate infatti fu fra i primi circoli italiani ad aderire e raggiungere l'obiettivo in breve tempo, grazie all'attenzione e impegno profusi a supporto dell'iniziativa lanciata dalla Ecology Unit dell'EGA pochi anni prima; è tra i pochissimi circoli che si è dotato di una specifica dichiarazione ambientale, è infatti certificato EMAS (2013-2015).

Nature

The Carimate course was built in 1962. The 18 holes were constructed inside the castle park and occupy portions of arable land. In the past, the area was used as a bird blind by local hunters. From a landscape point of view, it is an urban park with large trees, many over a hundred years old, and the small lake along hole 17 is the only wetland in the club and in the neighbouring area.

The tree heritage includes over thirty tree species, many of which are not local. They are exotic, ornamental trees, which belonged to the historical castle park; all have been recorded and bear numbered plates that correspond to specific maintenance sheets. In recent years, 150 more trees have been planted (primarily maples and beeches) to replace non-indigenous species such as the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia).

In 1993, a census was conducted of all trees present in the club: about thirty species were identified, both indigenous and exotic/non-indigenous. Some of them are very large and very old, such as the Cedrus atlantica and the Metasequoia. Each specimen bears a numbered metal plate and is subject to checks and maintenance. A booklet was created containing information on security and on the trees that can be found along the course. The holes along the path also show the names of some of the tree species present, giving an idea of the wide variety of trees (1 – Sweet gum Liquidambar styraciflua; 2 – Himalayan pine Pinus wallichiana; 3 - Linden Tilia platyphyllos; 4 – English oak Quercus robur; 5 – Norway spruce Picea abies; 6 – Tulip tree Liriodendron tulipifera; 7 – Common hornbeam Carpinus betulus; 8 – Chestnut Castanea sativa; 9 – Holm oak Quercus ilex; 10 – Azalea Rhododendron sp.; 11 – Atlas cedar Cedrus atlantica; 12 – Arizona cypress Cupressus arizonica; 13 – Scots pine Pinus sylvestris; 14 – Beech Fagus sylvatica; 15 – Northern red oak Quercus rubra; 16 – Boxelder maple Acer negundo; 17 – Walnut Juglans regia; 18 – Himalayan cedar Cedrus deodara). The club protects and maintains 40 monumental plants in the historical castle park.
In 2010, a census of the birdlife present in the club was conducted by an expert adviser and birdbander: there are more than 60 species, including nocturnal raptors and woodpeckers, and many priority protected species. Artificial nests have been created and a panel on the European green woodpecker (Picus viridis) has been installed.

The shores of the small lake near hole 17 have been renatured with spontaneous and ornamental vegetation and a buffer area of 1.5 meters has been marked. An uncultivated area of about 8 hectares with chestnuts, birches, oaks and locus trees has been prepared between holes 10 and 11. Moreover, piles of wood are left to decompose naturally near hole 11.

The area is not included in any protected areas and it corresponds to the castle park. There are approximately 8 hectares of spontaneous grass vegetation and about 12 hectares of native tree species. The perimeter fence is simply barbered wire, allowing the free movement of animals.

The turfgrass was originally composed solely of cool-season species. Over time, the pressure of traffic and climate change has led to a progressive change in the percentage of the original species. The current composition of the turfgrass is Agrostis stolonifera (60%) and Poa annua (40%) for greens (surface 0.8 ha); hybrid bermuda (Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis) 100% for tees (surface 0.6 ha); Agrostis stolonifera (80%), Poa annua (10%), various weeds (10%) for fairways (surface 7.2 ha); Festuca arundinacea (60%) and Lolium perenne (40%) for semirough (2.1 ha), spontaneous grass vegetation for rough (about 15 ha). The remaining surface of the golf course of about 60 ha is composed up of spontaneous grass, shrubs and trees.

Although it is not part of a protected area (except for the clubhouse, which is protected under the conservation act), club management conducts of a number of activities to protect and enhance its natural heritage. Some examples are the tree census, the introduction of native tree species (150 species over the last three years and the replacement of locust trees with maples and beech trees), the presence of natural uncultivated lands, the concealment of facilities by planting shrub species (pumping stations, houses, maintenance facility, lake shores, etc.) and the reduction of surfaces subject to intensive maintenance activities (e.g. tees and fairways).

Water

The water is supplied by a well and the small waterproofed basin for the catchment of rainwater. In 2012, the irrigated area was reduced and the irrigation system was redesigned and rebuilt for more homogeneous and rational water distribution, but also greater consumption.

Despite the course’s increase in water consumption (there was a reduction in drinking water from 10,600 m³ to 9,200 m³ from 2014 to 2016) due to the expansion of the irrigation system and because of the last two particularly dry seasons, the overall quantity (average amount of the last three years) of 85,460 m³, equal to 1,424 m³/ha, is slightly higher than the average amount consumed by the other golf clubs in the Po Valley plain and significantly lower than main agricultural crops of the area (2,437.5 m³/ha) (Golf Courses and Traditional Crops: A Comparison of Inputs – P. Croce et all. - Pisa 2008). Moreover, the low water consumption of 2014 is due solely to an especially rainy summer.

The new irrigation system provides excellent control of water distribution, avoiding excessively wet and dry areas. It is completely computer-controlled and the system is monitored monthly.

For several years, well-known techniques have been applied on the golf course to reduce water consumption and maximize irrigation efficiency, such as the two annual processes of boring small holes on greens and fairways, the annual practice of spiking greens and tees 3/4 times, and the regular use of wetting agents. The irrigated surface was reduced starting in 2012, tees have been converted to Bermuda grass (Bermuda Patriot) and tests have been done to assess the ability of the new Bermuda cultivars (Celebration) to adapt to shade. In the clubhouse, the toilets and showers are water efficient.

Energy

Over the last three years, the modernization of the irrigation system (fitted with inverters) allowed us to reduce energy consumption. There are separate meters between the golf course and the clubhouse for better monitoring. Twenty percent of the electricity used comes from a contract with a company providing energy from renewable sources. During the summer, the upper part of the clubhouse is cooled through natural ventilation and double glazed windows have been installed.

The vast majority of the clubhouse relies on natural light thanks to its large glass windows designed by architect Magistretti. Outside the clubhouse, lighting is controlled by twilight sensors. There are LED lamps in the changing rooms. The heating system is controlled by thermostats.

Over the past three years, electricity consumption from renewable sources dropped from 67,043 kWh (2014) to 66,311 kWh (2016) and consumption from non-renewable sources from 268,173 kWh (2014) to 265,245 kWh (2016). As doe fuel, diesel fuel use decreased from 23 m³ (2014) to 19 m³ (2016), whereas petrol increased slightly in 2016 compared to 2014 (+155 litres) and decreased with respect to 2015 (-171 litres). Instead, there was an increase in methane consumption from 44,228 m³ in 2014, to 48,721 m³ in 2015 and 52,300 m³ in 2016.

The club plans to install a thermal solar system on the clubhouse roof to increase renewable energy use by a further 30%.

Club management pursues an investment policy aimed at making infrastructures and facilities energy efficient. For example, a gradual modernization of many clubhouse technical components is underway and much of the equipment has been replaced with more efficient, high-performance and consumption-efficient systems. The golf cars are all electrical. The club owns a six-seat van to transport players from the hole n° 7 to the 8th. The parking area is fitted with bike racks.

Supply Chain

Club management pays special attention to the quality of the products it purchases and gives preference to local suppliers and products.

The club has long pursued a policy aimed at reducing environmental impacts, by widely replacing chemical practices with agronomic practices.

Out of 39 suppliers, 22 are based within a 10-km radius, 17 are located within 10 to 100 km. Both suppliers and products are ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certified.

Data on nutrient inputs reflect the strategic change carried out over the three-year period following the adoption of the PAN (National Action Plan that aims at significantly reducing the use of pesticides) and the conversion of the tees to Bermuda grass. This led to a drastic reduction of inputs on tees between 2014 and 2016 (N, -76%; P, -92%; K, -88%), a coherent reduction of nitrogen on fairways (-26% overall), a correct increase in the use of potassium (+122%), which is justified because the element provides greater mechanical resistance in case of invasion of fungal hyphae, as well as a significant increase, but only as a percentage (+390%), of phosphorous, which is actually used at low absolute values.

On greens, the adoption of the National Action Plan has led to a correct increase of P and K, respectively +875% and +216% (however, here again, it should be considered that the starting absolute values were very low) and a similar increase of N (+55%). The nitrogen increase can be explained as a result of the control of the endemic fungal disease Dollar spot (Sclerotinia homoecarpa) on greens. Since no chemical products can be used, high amounts of nitrogen are required to limit its presence. Following the adoption of the National Action Plan, significant reductions in pesticide use have been recorded, especially fungicides (see above). In percentage terms, their application remained stable on fairways in 2016 compared to the average of 2014 and 2015, on greens there was a decrease of 41.6% in 2016 and on tees they were never used in 2016 (Bermuda). The use of herbicides remained stable on fairways, whereas on tees they were applied moderately in 2016 (0.6 kg/ha), after two years of non-use. Herbicides were not employed on greens.
The club has long carried out an IPM policy for maintenance in compliance with the guidelines received from the Green Section of the Italian Golf Federation. In recent years, this strategy has moved towards an organic approach.

The secretarial office uses recycled paper. There are sorting bins along the golf course. Clippings return to the turfgrass on fairways.

Pollution Control

The club has long paid attention to protecting the environment. In addition to reducing the use of pesticides, the club has extended non-treated areas and has carried out strategies to control run-off.

Incoming and outgoing irrigation water is analysed once a year.

The club disposes of waste water as required by law: the clubhouse and the maintenance facility are connected to the municipal sewage network. There are septic tanks for the toilets along the golf course, while the washing water for equipment on the washing platform is separated from biological materials and mineral oils and then discharged to the sewage system.

All potentially dangerous materials and products are stored as required by law and specific loading and unloading registers are present.

Pesticides and fertilizers are stored indoors on an impermeable surface. Fuel is stored in appropriate outdoor tanks with a retention basin. The person responsible for safety checks that the precautionary rules as required by law are complied with on a monthly basis.

All potentially polluting substances are handled as required by law. The application of fertilizers and pesticides is limited to the areas and respond exclusively to real maintenance requirements. All rough and wooded areas receive no maintenance treatment (mowing included). Sumps have been installed on 7 holes to slow surface run-off and thereby reduce erosion and pollution of the sand in the bunkers with finer materials (loam and/or clay).

Community

The club employs only local residents and most players come from local areas. The club has always been a reference point for the local community and the Municipality often organizes events and meetings in the clubhouse. The centre for the elderly and local schools use the golf area for learning and/or recreational activities (in particular, classrooms are involved during the chestnut period and in autumn to collect and study leaves and different tree species and take walks to discover the territory with the help of the club staff).

In 2012, on the occasion of the club’s 50th anniversary, a book was published with the history and events of the Carimate area in the 1960s. The club has also created a strokesaver /information book on the course and on the club with safety guidelines and specific sheets on the trees. The club has its own small library on regional history. The club also makes donations to the municipal library and donated a well to the Municipality. The club has also helped the Municipality to renovate the football field and occasionally mows the public green for free.

Staff have received training on saving energy, and a targeted campaign on waste management was conducted through billboards and newsletters.

Five members working on the course have attended courses for Superintendents at the National Golf School of the IGF and regularly participate in refresher courses.

Club staff are very sensitive from an environmental point of view. Carimate was the first club to participate in the “Committed to Green” project and the first to be awarded certification in 2001. The club has also prepared an environmental declaration that in 2012 was attached to the documentation to obtain the EMAS certification.

Golf has always been considered a source of prestige for the whole local community. The municipality of Carimate has mentioned the club as a good example to follow, including for its EMAS certification. The club regularly organizes cultural meetings and is very vigilant about on disseminating historical and environmental information on itself. Various societies organize meetings at the club, which is also used as a meeting place. A strip of club land was given to the Municipality to create a nature trail and a bike path which is frequently used.

The castle is the reference point of the territory and the symbol of the whole community. It is of Medieval origin, as is the village, and dates back to shortly after 1000 AD. In the 1300s, the Visconti noble family used it as their summer and hunting residence. Over the centuries, the castle has hosted renowned people, including emperors like Maximilian I of Hasburg. At the end of the 18th century, it was inherited by another noble family, Arnaboldi Cazzaniga, who added the battlemented towers. During World War II, it was occupied by the Germans and then used as headquarters and shelter of the partisans. With the golf club, it became the symbol of a new project blending cultural aspects with leisure and sport activities. And finally, it also became a recording company with the Stone Castle Studios and many songwriters record famous songs here: Fabrizio De Andrè, Riccardo Cocciante, Lucio Dalla, Antonello Venditti and many others. Then it became a charming realise.

The historical clubhouse was built in the 1960s by architect Vico Magistretti and is protected under the conservation act. Shrubs have been used to cover pumping stations and tree and shrubs for the houses built along the path.

Members are constantly kept up to date on events and news through the phone app, the Facebook group, surveys, advertisements on the notice board and the website.

Club initiatives are also shared through local newspapers.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

The Carimate golf club was one of the first to participate in the “Committed to Green” project and has always devoted great attention and commitment to the environment. In 2001, the club was the first to be awarded certification. Certification from EMAS – that has adopted the environmental declaration edited by the club management – is further proof of the club’s efforts. The landscape and park, and the castle with its long history dating back to Medieval times and the clubhouse protected under the conservation act are just a few key elements that make this place an important and significant sports site. In light of the above, our opinion is positive and we believe that the club can be certified.

Certification Highlights

1. tree census and replacement of non-native species (for example locust trees) with native trees.
2. animal census
3. INV certification in 2001 and EMAS certification in 2012
4. collaboration with schools, centres for the elderly, local communities (the club is the reference point for many municipal activities)
5. conversion of tees from cool-season to warm-season turfgrass
6. IPM adoption for the course maintenance
7. investment in the clubhouse to save energy